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Case Study

Post a thread providing your response to 1 of the 4 case studies located in the Assignment Instructions Folder (Missions Meltdown, Birthday Tug-a-War, Threatening Trustee, or the Church Library). Create a response letter incorporating the ideas from your reading in the Peacemakers text. (“Dear ____, After hearing your situation. . .”)

CASE STUDIES FOR DISCUSSION BOARD FORUM 3
Case Study #1 – Missions Committee Meltdown
Imagine that you receive the following email (or letter or phone message) from a Christian friend.
Help! I wish I had never agreed to serve on our church missions committee! One of the other committee members is so irritating! Pat delights in using cutting humor and seems to look for ways to ridicule others’ ideas and suggestions, especially mine.
When Pat disagreed with me on a financial issue during last night’s meeting, I finally lost my patience. Knowing that he is self-conscious about not going to college, I said something like, “I can see why these figures are hard for you to understand, Pat, but if you had just a little more education, it would all add up.” He just sat there stunned, and the rest of the group moved on with the discussion. It was awkward. I felt sort of sorry about saying what I did, but I also think he had it coming.
This morning I found a letter from Pat under my door––he must have delivered it late last night. The letter goes on for two pages, harshly accusing me of all sorts of wrongs. I can see why he is angry with me belittling him in front of others, but he has made all sorts of other accusations that are exaggerated or completely untrue. He concludes by saying I am unfit to serve on the missions committee. And he had the nerve to send a copy to the committee chairman!
I’m torn between writing him a letter pointing out how he brought this on himself, or discussing it on the phone. What do you think I should do?
Although you would normally try to talk in person or by phone about such a delicate issue, your schedule won’t allow that in this case. So you decide to mail your friend a copy of the Peacemaker Brochure, along with a personal letter explaining how he (or she) might apply the basic principles of peacemaking in this situation. What would you write? (Assume that your friend is the type of person who would appreciate as much detailed advice as you can possibly provide, so suggest specific wording on how to confess, correct, forgive, or negotiate.)

Case Study #2 – Birthday Tug-of-War
Imagine that you receive the following email (or letter or phone message) from a Christian friend.
I’ve been dragged into a conflict with my brother and sister over what to give Mom for her birthday. Ever since Dad died, my brother, Ben, has been pushing us to get Mom a puppy to keep her company. Our sister, Susan, doesn’t like pets, so she keeps arguing that a dog will just make a mess and keep Mom from getting out to see friends or traveling to visit relatives.
Since Mom’s birthday is coming up, Ben called me last week to get my support for buying the puppy. While we were talking about Susan, I made a couple of comments about her controlling nature and how she always got her way when we were kids. I should have known better! When Ben talked to Sue the next day, he told her what I said about her to strengthen his case for getting the dog.
This morning, while I was in the shower, she called and left a message on my answering machine. She is so angry that I’m afraid to call her back. I’d like to just pretend I didn’t get her message and stay clear of her for a couple weeks, but I’m afraid she’ll just show up at my door and let me have it. What do you think I should do?
Remember that Susan isn’t a Christian, so we don’t have any common ground to deal with these kinds of problems. I just don’t know what to do!
Although you would normally try to talk in person or by phone about such a delicate issue, your schedule won’t allow that in this case. So you decide to mail your friend a copy of the Peacemaker Brochure, along with a personal letter explaining how he (or she) might apply the basic principles of peacemaking in this situation. What would you write? (Assume that your friend is the type of person who would appreciate as much detailed advice as you can possibly provide, so suggest specific wording on how to confess, correct, forgive, or negotiate.)

Case Study #3 – The Threatening Trustee
Imagine that you receive the following email (or letter or phone message) from a Christian friend.
I need your advice on a difficult situation with one of the students in my classroom. Jasmine is a bright ten-year old, but she has had difficulty paying attention and getting along with other students. She recently moved to town with her family from another state. Her mother is a single mom with three children. Jasmine gets mostly Cs and occasional Ds, and her work is well below what she is capable of. I have met twice with her mother, Patty, who is defensive about Jasmine and accuses me of being too petty and expecting too much of her daughter. I think Patty either doesn’t understand her daughter’s capabilities, or she is just too weak-willed to make Jasmine do her work. Our last conversation was pretty tense.
A week ago Jasmine turned in another poor paper, and I made the mistake of correcting her sternly in front of the whole class. This morning I learned from the principal that Jasmine went home that day and told her mother I had humiliated her in front of the whole class. Patty was so angry that she called a school board trustee and voiced a strong complaint about me.
Instead of talking to me to hear my side of the story, the trustee, Paul, decided to “investigate” the complaint by talking to the principal and some other teachers about my work. I sure would have expected more in a Christian school! Paul is a significant financial supporter of the school, and he has frequently insisted that the school’s reputation with its parents is its most important tool for promoting the school in the community. And it’s not just talk! Two years ago, he convinced the board and the principal to terminate another teacher who was experiencing conflict with some parents. I am afraid that I may be next on his list. I would certainly appreciate your prayers and advice.
Although you would normally try to talk in person or by phone about such a delicate issue, your schedule won’t allow that in this case. So you decide to mail your friend a copy of the Peacemaker Brochure, along with a personal letter explaining how he (or she) might apply the basic principles of peacemaking in this situation. What would you write? (Assume that your friend is the type of person who would appreciate as much detailed advice as you can possibly provide, so suggest specific wording on how to confess, correct, forgive, or negotiate.)

Case Study #4 – The Church Library
Imagine that just after your church’s worship service you walk over to greet two of your friends. When you realize that they are involved in an intense discussion, you turn away. But one of them notices you and grabs your arm, saying, “Don’t go away! We need your advice.”
Chris goes on to say, “You know that Pastor asked us to come up with a plan for the interior of our new library. Well, Terry and I both have our own ideas and we really see things differently. The dedication is less than a month away and we still don’t know what we’re going to do.
“I think that a church library should be warm and welcoming. We should have colors that are calm and contemplative––a traditional look, if you know what I mean. We’ve already got comfortable leather chairs and sofas. We can buy some additional reading lamps and make this a place where people can think and be quiet.
“I was also thinking that we should hang photos of all our former senior pastors on the wall – you know, to really connect us with our roots and our Christian heritage. If we don’t remember where we’ve come from, how can we know where we should go?”
When Chris pauses to take a breath, Terry speaks up. “I certainly agree that we shouldn’t ignore our heritage. But, it doesn’t do us any good to have a library that nobody uses. That was the problem with the old one. It was dark and uninviting, so it didn’t get much use. All those wonderful books just sat there, collecting dust.
“The whole reason for the remodel is to get people to use the library! If we’re going to get people to give it a try, it needs to be more than a comfortable place to think. It has to say, ‘This is where things are happening!’ We need to have bright, bold colors––the sort of look that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to check it out.”
Terry looks at Chris. “I’m all for comfortable chairs and sofas. In fact, I like our overstuffed leather furniture, but a lot of folks use them just to nap between Sunday school and worship. We can get a great deal on some modern, functional and comfortable stuff. We need a look that wakes people up.
“And I don’t think photos of our former pastors will draw people in. It would be much better to use the wall space for posters or for drawings that our children do––things that are bright and cheerful, that people enjoy looking at.”
You realize that both of your friends are looking at you now. Having voiced their conflicting opinions, they clearly expect a Solomon-like decision. What could you do or say that would help them resolve their differences in a wise and biblical manner?

Category: Essays

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